Today, I finally updated my positively ancient version of Scrivener and worked on an old manuscript. First time in almost two years. And I feel better than I have felt in months. At least since winter descended upon me and wrapped my world in a shroud of grey misery.
I think I can safely admit that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. I started suspecting this when I first moved to New York City. It was the winter of 1994, one of the most brutal the city has known, with some 17 snowstorms, and temperatures dropping down to minus 20 degrees C. Cars in the streets were buried in snow for weeks on end. It was awful. And even though I’d wanted to live in New York City so much, I was miserable beyond miserable. I spent my days in the apartment I was subletting, trying to work on translations, and watching hours of reality shows, which made it even worse because I couldn’t believe the depressing rubbish that was aired on a daily basis. I had never liked TV, and to this day, I’m happy to say that I have never bought a TV in my life, but the sublet came with it, and at first, it was rather fascinating to watch. Culture shock and all that. But I digress. It was a sad, sad winter, until spring suddenly burst all over the city, and just like that, from one second to the other, I was happy again.
In the 13 years that I have lived in Africa and Asia, I never suffered from any type of depression. I was not always happy – who is? Some days were harder than others, especially in Nigeria, and then in Bangladesh, but I never felt the kind of hopelessness, and despair that I have been feeling lately. I never woke up in the morning, longing for night to fall again so I can go back to sleep. The only things that have kept me going, lately, are Zumba and Flamenco. And my piano, until I started feeling pains in my left hand again. I keep working on this bitch of a Debussy piece (Dr Gradus Ad Parnassum, for anyone interested), even though I already hurt my wrist that way last year and couldn’t play for a month and a half, and now, I’ve done it again.
Anyway, this morning, after I came back from Zumba, I showered, sat at the computer, and decided to use the new application I bought to help my daughters focus on their Homework (as opposed to doing their HW while chatting on email, sending and receiving emails, Facebooking and Skyping all at the same time). And so, instead of spending hours zapping from my email to Facebook to endless games of Word Bubbles Rising on Lumosity, I set the Anti-Social app so I could not access any social media for one hour, and I set to work.
And it worked.
And it feels good.
Actually, I’m not sure how I could stay away from my characters for so long. I mean, I love those characters. They feel very much alive to me. So what, if they are not quite finished, or polished. They will drive me nuts, most likely, as I try to go deeper into their motivations. My climax still has a big hole in its middle. I have threads going right and left that need to be woven into the story. I have an awful lot to do. But I need to do this. Because if I don’t, well, I die a little bit inside, day after day after day. And it’s not pretty.
So, wish me luck.